Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Los Angeles auxiliary bishop Monsignor Alexander Salazar, who stands accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor in the 1990s.

Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez said in a statement that the pope had accepted Salazar's resignation for early retirement. Salazar most recently served as vicar for the Office of Ethnic Ministries of the Los Angeles archdiocese.

Gomez in the statement said the city's archdiocese had learned about the allegations against Salazar in 2005.

The allegation against Salazar, which was brought to law enforcement in 2002, stemmed from misconduct in the 1990s when he was a parish priest.


"Law enforcement [in 2002] had investigated the allegation and recommended that the District Attorney seek prosecution," Gomez said in the statement. "The District Attorney did not file charges in the case."

Gomez wrote that Salazar has denied any wrongdoing.

The archdiocese sent the complaint to the Vatican office that handles sex abuse cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which "permitted Bishop Salazar to remain in ministry subject to certain precautionary conditions." An investigation ultimately concluded that the allegation was credible, according to Gomez. 

"These decisions have been made out of deep concern for the healing and reconciliation of abuse victims and for the good of the church's mission," Gomez wrote in a letter published on Wednesday. "Let us continue to stay close to the victim survivors of abuse, through our prayer and our actions." 

There have been multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against bishops throughout 2018. 

The Catholic Church faced renewed scrutiny earlier this year regarding its treatment of sexual abuse by clergy members following the resignation of former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and a Pennsylvania grand jury report that documented decades of sexual abuse by Catholic leaders in the state. 

News of the L.A. bishop's resignation comes a day after the Vatican released new details on Francis's plans for a sex abuse prevention summit slated for late February.